The Problem with Complacency

Microtransactions, DLC … they make a crap ton of money.  More than the box.  Game development costs are through the roof and we’re still paying $60 for a game.  20 years ago that was $90, 10 years ago that was $70.  Games are cheaper to buy, and more expensive to make.  Math.  Simple math.

‘Member when horse armor was ridiculous?  That seems quaint now.

I have built my career over implementing change.  It’s always painful, always slower than planned, and never ever stops. (insert Terminator reference)  It always comes down to a simple choice – stand in front of the wave and let it hit you, or head out and meet it on your terms.

Complacent people will ignore that wave of change, pretend that it doesn’t impact them.  They will stay on the beach as it recedes.  They’ll watch it take over other parts, and feign immunity.  Once that change finally hits them, all of a sudden it’s a big deal.  There’s a level of hypocrisy that is tough to digest.

This whole EA debacle of selling a full priced game, then loading it with microtransactions is entirely our fault.  The collective gaming community allows this to work.  Every time we buy a full priced game, then buy the MTX and DLC, we say “this is allowed”.  Every time we defend the practice by comparing it to something that is nothing like it, we allow the practice to continue.  Every time our greedy competitive nature says “I want to be better than them” and we open our wallet, we do the same thing.

There are certainly games that do not appear to go down this path, or at least provide some tangible value for their extra content.  Horizon, Witcher, Breath of the Wild are all examples.

All of these companies – Rockstar, EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Activision, Warner Brothers – they are public and beholden to one cause : making shareholders money.  As long as we keep giving them money, they will keep finding news ways to get more of it.  As long as MTX/DLC make them money hand over fist, they will spend more time on it.’

At the end of the day, I vote with my wallet.  Quality games that have an acceptable (to me) financial model receive my money.  I make all efforts to avoid specific developers that have horrible (to me) practices.  I purchase DLC that has tangible value (to me), like extra hours of content – not a new hat.  I don’t ever buy lockboxes. I make rambling posts.

I want to reward ethical (to me) behavior, and I will avoid doing business with any company otherwise.

3 thoughts on “The Problem with Complacency

  1. Sadly a lot of people are just weak. They want to be against lockboxes and whatever, but ooh look, shiny lightsaber. And then its just “well I’ll wallet vote next time, THIS time I just want to have a little fun”.Except next time it’s rinse-repeat.


  2. What I wonder is how many of those people buying lockboxes and all the rest really do want to be against them? Not surprisingly, the voices we hear most are those that either don’t buy them or buy them and then feel unhappy about doing so. Is that any kind of majority, though? How many people are buying these things and feeling perfectly comfortable with their purchases? As any business knows, your satisfied customers tend to keep their satisfaction to themselves while your unsatisfied ones shout it from the rooftops.

    We’ll find out in time. Either this is a fad that will fade or it’s a sea-change in the medium. I suspect the latter but it’s too soon to be sure.


  3. There is honestly so much history that started with the horse armor, do we really see lock boxes going away? In a way, as much as the advancement system in Battelfront 2 is annoying: knowing all the dlc is free from here on out, and all the lockbox content can be unlocked via currency earned in game (I earned enough to buy Vader and a lockbox at new Vader price – not to mention tons of heroes come free – Yoda, Kylo Ren,Darth Maul). Just saying – there is a whole lot of people blowing this use of lock boxes way the hell out of proportion in this case. If a bunch of rich idiots want to be OP for a month before the rest of the players have earned all the star cards by just playing – who cares?

    Hell WoW has a box price, sub fee, and you can buy in game gold which is ptw, as well as a cash shop. Where’s the damn outrage???


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